Dungeons & Dragons

Directed by Courtney Solomon
Starring: Justin Whalin, Marlon Wayans, Thora Birch, Jeremy Irons, Richard O'Brien.
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for fantasy action violence.

Review by Evelyn Gildrie-Voyles <evy@filmhead.com>
December 11, 2000

To put this review in perspective, I would like to list a few movies that I enjoyed more than Dungeons & Dragons: Mystery Men, Wing Commander, Battlefield Earth.

The plot is pretty standard fantasy fair: An evil Mage Profion (Jeremy Irons) wants to rule the kingdom of Izmer and depose the headstrong young Empress (Thora Birch doing her best imitation of Natalie Portman in The Phantom Menace). Through plot contrivances, the fate of the Empress rests on the marginally attractive shoulders of the young thief Ridley (Justin Whalin) and his companions: the comic relief, Snails (Marlon Wayans), a pretty mage, Marina(Zoe McLellan), a spunky dwarf (Lee Arenberg), and an elf, Norda (Kristen Wilson). The gang of heroes must find the Rod of Savrille (which gives the holder the power to control red dragons and looks like a red plastic dragon tail with a yo-yo in the middle of it) before Profion's henchman Damodar (Bruce Payne) in order to defeat Profion and bring peace and equality among the classes to the kingdom of Izmer.

Almost everything about the film is poorly done. The costumes are lame with the exception of Profion's gorgeous council robes. The props all look like they were made of plastic and better computer graphics can be seen in most video games. The dialogue is unspeakably bad with weak humor and even weaker attempts at inspiration. The plot peters out about half way through as if the writers just got tired and the ending makes very little sense.

The acting is mediocre with a few exceptions. Marlon Wayans does provide some comic relief and Richard O'Brien's appearance as Nilus, king of thieves, is the high point of the film. Unfortunately it lasts about seven minutes. Jeremy Irons is dismal. He growls, hisses and shrieks in a desperate attempt to pretend that he is delivering decent lines, but his overacting merely points out the failings of his material. The most painful performance award goes to Kristen Wilson as the elf Norda who, despite her physical beauty, is so bad that she is unwatchable.

Unless you can see it for free and are really bored, skip this one.

For more information, go to the Internet Movie Database:
Dungeons & Dragons (2000)

Here's some merchandise for sale at Amazon.com
Dungeons & Dragons (2000) -- VHS
Dungeons & Dragons (2000) -- DVD
Dungeons & Dragons: The Movie, a screenplay novelization by Neal Barrett, Jr. -- Paperback

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